Friday 3 - Sunday 12 December 2004
Welcome to the unique cinematic celebration that is London's 12th Turkish Film Festival Festival: 10 days of the best new movies and the people who made them.
Among the highlights of TFF 2004:
Ahmet Ulucay's enchanting autobiographical first feature BOATS OUT OF WATERMELON RINDS, Omer Kavur's spellbinding and enigmatic ENCOUNTER, Ayse Polat's drama about the friendship of a German and a Kurdish girl EN GARDE, the dramatic tale of a man's life turned upside down in Cagan Irmak's EVERYTHING ABOUT MUSTAFA, Yagmur & Durul Taylan's comedic horror chiller SCHOOL, Reis Celik's original, improvisatory TALES OF INTRANSIGENCE, Omer Vargi's blue collar satire UNDER CONSTRUCTION, and the final part of Zeki Demirkubuz's penetrating and absorbing 'Tales About Darkness' trilogy, THE WAITING ROOM.
TFF 2004's retrospective section spotlights the director Fatih Akin whose international success HEAD-ON will be released in the UK by Soda Pictures in February. There is an opportunity to catch up with with his first three features (and previous TFF highlights) SHORT SHARP SHOCK, IN JULY and SOLINO.
At the end of a year that has seen the major commercial release of a number of Turkish films in the UK, there will be an all day seminar on 'New Turkish Cinema in Europe.' In association with Goldsmiths College, the event will bring together critics, film directors, academics, journalists and, of course, filmgoers. There will also be an opportunity to review two of those 2004 releases, Nuri Bilge Ceylan's critically acclaimed, UZAK and Ezel Akay's enjoyable look at the music business WHERE'S FIRUZE?
Other special events include two programmes of documentaries (PARALLEL TRIPS, PYLA - LIVING TOGETHER SEPARATELY and WHICH CYPRUS?) and discussion on the divided island of Cyprus, and three programmes of short films from young filmmakers both local and international. This year's festival sees the introduction of a short film competition for young filmmakers. Organised by the Rio Cinema and Balik Arts, the theme of the competition is 'Another World'. There will be a single prize of £1,500 donated by TEES for the best fiction film.
There will also be an exhibition 'Fragments from the Past: The cinema in the lives of London's Turkish speaking communities'.
As usual the Festival will welcome directors, producers, writers and actors. And of course we especially look forward to welcoming you...
Vedide Kaymak & Charles Rubinstein
BOATS OUT OF WATERMELON RINDS
(Karpuz Kabuğundan Gemiler Yapmak)
Turkey 2004 / 98m / English subtitles / Cert. PG
Director: Ahmet Uluçay
Cast: Ismail Hakki Taslak, Kadir Kaymaz, Gülayse Erkoç
An autobiographical first feature film from Ahmet Ulucay who still lives in the village of Tepecik, where he was born. It's the 60s and Recep and Mehmet are two boys crazy about movies. After work, they spend their evenings building a film projector, witnessed only by Crazy Omer, the village idiot. But things begin to change when Recep falls for Nihal, the eldest daughter of the widow Nezihe. His feelings are not reciprocated, whereas Nihal's younger sister, Guler, is interested in Recep who is definitely not interested in her...
Turkey 2003 / 124m / English subtitles / Cert. 15
Director: Ömer Kavur
Cast: Ugur Polat, Lale Mansur, Çetin Tekindor
"Encounter, is the story of a man who believes that he has been presented with a new life. He witnesses his son's resurrection and finds the woman he has been looking for all his life. All this is a miracle for him. However, as with all miracles, it has to end. I tried to make the film with minimum stylisation and just a few surrealistic touches. It is the tale of an odd search covering extraordinary circumstances in which the destinies of our heroes intercept and overlap."
Germany 2004 / 94m / English subtitles / Cert. 15
Director: Ayse Polat
Cast: Maria Kwiatkowsky, Pinar Erincin, Luk Piyes
Sixteen-year-old Alice is different from the other girls in the Catholic educational institute where her mother has placed her. She is a loner and because of her acute sense of hearing she perceives the world around her differently from other people. Then she meets Berivan, a Kurdish girl waiting for a judgment from the German immigration authorities. Gradually, Alice opens up to Berivan and they become friends. But the situation between the two begins to dramatically go out of control after Berivan falls in love with a boy called Ilir...
EVERYTHING ABOUT MUSTAFA
(Mustafa Hakkında Herşey)
Turkey 2004 / 119m / English subtitles / Cert. 15
Director: Cagan Irmak
Cast: Fikret Kuskan, Basak Köklükaya, Nejat Isler, Serif Sezer
Life is great for Mustafa: he has a good job, a great wife and a lovely child. He thinks it's all going to last forever, but then his wife is killed in a car accident and everything is turned upside down. His anger and frustration grow because there was someone else in the car who survived: Fikret. Mustafa begins to spy on him and finally he kidnaps Fikret. The questioning begins but things spiral out of control and eventually Mustafa must face his past.
HEAD-ON (Duvara Karşı)
Germany 2003 / 123m / English subtitles / Cert. 18
Director: Fatih Akin
Cast: Birol Ünel, Sibel Kekilli, Meltem Cumbul
"You can put an end to your life without killing yourself" whispers the doctor. And Cahit whose suicide attempt has brought him to the psychiatric clinic, knows what he means: just start a new life. Sibel - like Cahit, Turkish-German - loves life too much for a proper Muslim girl. To escape from the prison of her devout, conservative family, she fakes a suicide attempt. But it brings shame, not freedom and now only marriage can save her. So she begs Cahit to marry her and, reluctantly, he agrees...
Turkey 2004 / 103m / English subtitles / Cert. 15
Directors: Yagmur Taylan & Durul Taylan
Cast: Burak Altay, Nehir Erdogan, Sinem Kobal
A comedy thriller set in a boarding school where Guldem is the most beautiful girl and her boy friend Ersin is both the most handsome (and ambitious) pupil. As for Gokalp, he's neither beautiful, handsome or ambitious - he's a writer and a dreamer with few friends but a passion for Guldem. However, Gokalp's biggest effect on the lives of Guldem, Ersin and their school friends will come a year later when Gokalp has become a ghost...
TALES OF INTRANSIGENCE (İnat Hikayeleri)
Turkey-Germany 2003 / 90m / English subtitles / Cert. 12A
Director: Reis Çelik
Cast: Tuncel Kurtiz, Sabri Tutal, Kemal Gültekin
This improvised film made by a film crew of two: The director and an actor; in collaboration with members of a village community, may be the first of its kind. It tells of the rivalry between two forms of winter transport: the horse-drawn sleigh which can take the short cut over the frozen lake and the red minibus which needs to be more devious to beat it's rival. While the race goes on other tales of intransigence are told: 'Wishbone', 'Five Straws One Broken Heart' and 'Saho, the Swindler'.
UNDER CONSTRUCTION (İnşaat)
Turkey 2003 / 108m / English subtitles / Cert. 15
Director: Ömer Varg¦
Cast: Sevket Çoruh, Emre Kinay, Suna Pekuysal
A black comedy that casts a satirical eye over modern Turkey through the story of Ali and Sudi construction workers on a building site in a slum district of Istanbul. They dream of saving enough money to emigrate to Italy, but nightmares are closer at hand when they discover the site is being use as a graveyard. Add a bunch of corrupt cops, a journalist with a body to bury, and a lost video camera, and the stage is set for an hilarious piece of cutting edge comedy.
Turkey 2002 / 110m / English subtitles / Cert. 15
Director: Nuri Bilge Ceylan
Cast: Muzaffer Özdemir, Mehmet Emin Toprak, Ebru Ceylan
The most internationally acclaimed Turkish film of recent years is the bittersweet tale of the encounter between melancholic and obsessive middle-aged photographer Mahmut and his unemployed country boy cousin Yusuf, who has come to Istanbul to find a job on a ship. Sometimes comic, sometimes sad, but always visually beautiful Uzak offers great insight into its themes of friendship and loneliness and features wonderful performances from Muzaffer Ozdemir as Mahmut and the late Mehmet Emin Toprak as Yusuf.
THE WAITING ROOM (Bekleme Odası)
Turkey 2003 / 94m / English subtitles / Cert. 15
Director: Zeki Demirkubuz
Cast: Zeki Demirkubuz, Nurhayat Kavrak, Nilüfer Açikin
The third and final part of Zeki Demirkubuz's magnificent trilogy 'Tales About Darkness'. Ahmet, viewed by others as an idealist but by himself as an arrogant so-and-so, wants to film Dostoievsky's 'Crime and Punishment'. However, he now feels complete indifference towards the project, as he similarly does towards his girlfriend and indeed, his entire life. His outlook is not helped by the probability that he has cancer. But life, and film-making, goes on and so who will play the novel's hero Raskolnikov?
WHERE'S FIRUZE? (Neredesin Firuze?)
Turkey 2004 / 138m / English subtitles / Cert. 15
Director: Ezel Akay
Cast: Haluk Bilginer, Özcan Deniz, Demet Akbag
A colourful, lively, fantastical, almost surreal, look at the modern music business. Hayri and Orhan are two music producers who are deeply in debt. But help is on the way in the form of singer Ferhat who arrives from Germany. However getting Ferhat's recordings widely heard is difficult when you owe money to everyone, not least record producers and distributors. Then a live television show and a mysterious woman come to the rescue...
FATİH AKIN RETROSPECTIVE
SHORT SHARP SHOCK (Kısa ve Acımasız)
Germany 1998 / 100m / English subtitles / Cert. 15
Director: Fatih Akin
Cast: Mehmet Kurtulus, Aleksandar Jovanovic, Adam Bousdoukos
Fatih Akin intertwines love, sex, death and honour into a powerful, touching and fast-paced story about three friends caught in a trap of their own making. Gabriel the Turk, Bobby the Serb and Costa the Greek used to be a neighbourhood gang in Hamburg. But much has changed since Gabriel went to prison. He has decided to grow up, but his buddies are holding him back. Bobby, in particular, still has dreams of joining the mafia. Only Alice, Bobby's girlfriend, understands Gabriel - better than she understands her own boyfriend.
IN JULY (Temmuzda)
Germany 2000 / 88m / English subtitles / Cert.15
Director: Fatih Akin
Cast: Moritz Bleibtreu, Christiane Paul, Mehmet Kurtulus, Idil Üner
Daniel, a shy young Hamburg physics teacher falls head over heals in love with a beautiful girl called Melek, and spontaneously decides to follow her to Istanbul. Together with a female friend, July, who secretly worships him, he sets off on what turns out to be a wild odyssey through south-eastern Europe. Beaten up, seduced, robbed, stoned for the first time and busted by Turkish border guards, Daniel learns that happiness is worth fighting for...
Germany 2002 / 120m / English subtitles / Cert. 15
Director: Fatih Akin
Cast: Moritz Bleibtreu, Barnaby Metschurat, Antonella Attili
Romano and Rosaand and their sons Gigi and Giancarlo move from sunny Italy to the industrial heartland of 1960s Germany and open the first pizza parlour in the neighbourhood. While Romano is soon completely wrapped up in his work, Rosa continues to suffer from homesickness. Gigi and Giancarlo enjoy their new found adolescent freedom but they will soon become rivals in the quest for love and success and each of them wants to be the first to answer the big question: What is really important in life?
PARALLEL TRIPS (Paralel Yolculuklar)
Turkey-Greece 2004 / 120m / English & Turkish subtitles / Cert. 15
Directors: Dervis Zaim & Panicos Chrysanthou
Cyprus: a divided Mediterranean island that has been a flashpoint between Greeks and Turks for almost half a century. From both sides of the conflict, Greek director Panicos Chrysanthou and Turkish director Dervis Zaim record the human dramas that unfolded during the war of 1974 and the legacy that remains today. This is a moving document whose common perspective can only help to heal old wounds. As Zaim says: "We know we can live together, but we still have to ask why we did this to each other. "
PYLA - LIVING TOGETHER SEPARATELY (Pile - Beraber Ayrı Yaşamak)
Greece 2003 / 52m / English & Turkish subtitles / Cert. 15
Director: Elias Demetriou
Between northern Cyprus, home to the Turkish population and the Greek Cypriot south lies 'No Mans Land' administered by the UN. This candid and illuminating documentary looks at life in the village of Pyla/Pile where Greek and Turkish residents have lived peacefully together for thirty years. However, as the villagers reveal, there is still an atmosphere of suspicion on both sides. Then in April 2003 the borders are opened. How will this affect the two communities?
WHICH CYPRUS? (Hangi Kıbrıs?)
Turkey 2004 / 93m / English subtitles / Cert. 15
Director: Rüstem Batum
A powerful film about a country divided by war and its longing for peace. On April 23, 2003 the border separating the Greek and the Turkish communities in Cyprus was opened after 30 years. Which Cyprus tells the stories of people travelling to "the other side" of their divided country and presents the views of politicians, peace activists, journalists and clergymen. This complete and objective picture of a divided society offers a candle of hope to other troubled regions of the world.